Research Finds Adapting to Climate Change Is Cheaper than Responding to Its Impacts

A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that the cost of strategies to adapt to projected sea level rise are lower than the potential costs of flooding damage that could occur in the absence of such adaptation measures.
Given current climate change projections, the researchers estimated that by the year 2100, global mean sea level rise of 0.8 to 4 feet will cause 0.2 to 4.6 of the world’s population to be flooded, causing annual economic losses of 0.3 to 9.3 percent of global gross domestic product. Investing in measures to adapt to sea-level rise, such as by raising dikes or restoring wetlands, would incur upfront and maintenance costs, but those costs would be much smaller than the global costs of flooding damage, according to the study.

Learn more about the impacts of climate change and consider adaptation and mitigation options in the Koshland Science Museum’s online interactive exhibit, Earth Lab: Degrees of Change.